Scratch-and-win Timeshare scam

Timesharing is a scam in which you buy a share of a holiday accommodation, together with other unsuspicious tourists. In exchange for an annual installment (sometimes called membership fee), you will be the owner of this accommodation for a certain number of days or weeks every year, allowing you to spend your holiday there. However, the (shared) ownership means that you need to sign a purchase contract. And these contracts are infamous for their hidden extra costs, long term financial obligations and extremely high termination fees. Be aware that by signing such a contract, you will be locked into financial obligations for many years, sometimes decades, costing you many thousands, even if you decide not to spend your holiday at “your own” accommodation.

Also read: Warning! Timeshare scam in Kuta, Bali

Bali-scam-holiday-club-timeshareTimeshare is notorious for its aggressive and sales practices, false pretenses and extremely burdening contracts. These practices are spread worldwide, but have moved to Asia in recent years. In Bali, it is apparently still very successful with unsuspecting tourists, as there are many con artists working for these swindlers on the streets of Kuta, Sanur and other popular tourist destinations on the holiday island of Bali. And their trick is not to start about timesharing, but first let you play (and win) an innocent game of scratch-and-win.

When you’re walking on the beach, boulevard or shopping streets, you will be approached by either an Indonesian person or sometimes even a young European “student”, who speaks English or possibly your native language, offering a free scratch-and-win lottery ticket as a promotion for a hotel. Bali-scam-timeshare-scratch_and_winBecause the tickets are secretly marked, one of your group will always end up being the winner of the grand prize,  which can be anything from an iPad to a large cash sum, or a free holiday in a luxurious resort in Bali. Sometimes you won’t even be told what the grand prize is exactly until you come to their office. The grand prize can only be collected by visiting a sales promotion for a holiday resort. The scammers offer to take you to their office immediately or pick you up later at your hotel, so you can collect your prize. The winning scratch cards and the prizes are just to lure you into their sales office where another sales person will apply hard sales tactics to get you to sign a contract for an expensive timeshare club membership, which you won’t be able to cancel.

When you arrive at their office, they will tell you that before they give you your prize, you will first have to watch a promotional video. After this video, a sales person (these are often European or British) will tell you about a special promotion of their holiday club, Bali-rip_off-holiday-club-timesharepromising all kinds of wonderful holiday accommodations in the most picturesque locations. You will be informed that “only today” you can join their club for a certain amount of money, most likely a couple of thousand Euro’s, Dollars or Pounds. You will have to pay a deposit of at least one thousand Euro’s directly upon signing the contract, and you can pay off the rest in installments. They will forcibly encourage you to join that same day, as the “special promotion” offer will be valid for one day only. They may even act annoyed when you show some hesitation. Of course this should get your alarm bells ringing, as there is no reason for them not to give you some time to consider before investing such a large amount of money, except for it being a total scam.

If you refuse to sign any contracts or deposit any money, they may become aggressive and refuse to bring you back to your hotel, meaning you will have to find a taxi (and pay for it) by yourself. There is no “grand prize”, you may be reluctantly given a (used) T-shirt if you have the guts to ask for it, but once they realize they can’t scam out of your money, you’re on your own.

Bali-scam-scratch_and_win-timeshareHow do they make sure there’s always one winner of the grand prize in every group? They have two kinds of tickets: one type with smaller prizes like a T-shirt and one type with the grand prize. The tickets are marked, invisibly to an unsuspecting victim, but clear enough for the con-artist to make sure there’s only one grand prize per group, because more than one would be suspicious, and the grand prize is needed to lure the group or couple into joining him to visit the sales promotion. Because that’s what it’s all about: getting people into their office, where they can use their aggressive sales methods to get naïve tourists to sign multi-year timeshare contracts and scamming them out of thousands of Euro’s, Dollars or Pounds.

A variation to this scam goes as follows: a friendly young Balinese girl approaches you, claiming to be a student carrying out a tourism survey. She will first ask you all the usual questions about what country you are from and how long you’re staying in Bali. In the end, she will ask you in which hotel you are staying and your room number. If you do this, you will be called later that day or the next, by someone who claims you have won a prize by completing the survey, and they will send a driver to pick you up so you can claim your prize. And of course, the timeshare pitch starts from there. So never let anybody know which hotel you are staying, Bali-scam-timeshare-holiday-cluband especially not your name or room number. If someone you don’t know offers to pick you up from your hotel, ask them to pick you up at a shop or restaurant near your hotel, so you don’t have to reveal the exact location of  your stay.

Most of these representatives can be very persuasive and all of them are extremely annoying when you are trying to enjoy your holiday peacefully. If you want to avoid telling them at least ten times you’re not interested before they leave you alone, tell them you’re under 27 years old, as this is the minimum age they will invite to their presentations.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Bali Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Just wanted to say thank you for the information. How gullible are we tourists, to think that 24 hours after filling in a short survey on the street, I get a phone call in my hotel room from a random stranger (Lisa) telling me I had won the top prize of a 7 night holiday.
    I did not think I was entering into a competition. Alarm bell → 1.
    I would be picked up from the reception of my hotel, taken to another hotel, some distance away, by “their” driver. Alarm bell →2.
    And the BIG one. We would be given a free breakfast with drinks AFTER watching a 1 hour video presentation of this new hotel and when we were ready they would bring us back to the hotel. Alarm bell → 3.
    A light bulb came on in my head. This sounds way to good to be true. So, in this day of technology and the Internet it was time to check this out. There’s no surprise to see that it’s a timeshare scam. IT’S A SCAM…don’t do it. Don’t go. Don’t be fooled.

  2. Ha. Had basically this exact thing happen 35 minutes into our first jaunt around town. A guy who called himself ‘Roy’ gave us the tickets, and surprise surprise, my wife’s said she had won her choice of $500 US cash, an iPad, or a weeks free stay at a resort in any of 8 different countries. All we had to do was get in a taxi (right there and then) and go to a hotel to get our prize. (Incidentally, my card awarded me two shirts, but if I wanted to collect those I could just go on my own any time)
    What made ‘Roy’ so convincing was the sheer faux delight in his eyes when my wife opened her ticket. He explained this by saying he is excited because he also gets $100 USD if someone he gives a card to wins the jackpot. He grew strangely insistent when my wife and I posited other times or ways to visit the hotel and claim our prizes.

    The cards themselves are slathered around the edges with claims like ‘Absolutely no cost to you.’ And ‘No commitment required’, and I have never in my life heard someone utter phrases like ‘I am an honest guy. I wouldn’t bullshit you’ more than Roy, which of course just made me trust him less. I let him keep us in the leash a little longer because of a perverse enjoyment in seeing scammers work so hard to get nothing.

    This needs to be shared. Wish I could share a pic of the card. I saved mine as a souvenir.;)

  3. Gerard Murphy says

    I find with the timeshare, the woman seem to win the amazing prizes and give the men crap.
    I usually don’t mind going along with them, particular if bored.
    When it comes time for them to use the strong pitch.
    You just tell them, it’s a lot of money i need to speak to my financial advisor first.
    That shuts them up

  4. Had this happen today.
    My Mum won the ‘grand prize’ and was a little skeptical when he said we had to go there straight away. But I convinced her let’s just go check it out. After all the family (6 of us) piled into the car, my girlfriend jumped onto her phone and typed in karma group (the name on the card) scam.
    Sure enough there it was. She quickly faked that she needed to vomit and the driver stopped the car and we all jumped out.
    My family was convinced as well haha
    Needless to say we scammed the scammers. I guess if its to good to be true it always is.

  5. I met that girl today in Bali at Pirates Bay !!! balinese girl ! She said exactly what’s written above!!!! I was not interested HOPEFULLY ! Thanks for sharing that experience guys !

  6. manches man says

    The worst ones are the sales managers in the office.
    Man what a rude person. After 3 hours of questions the sales rep was getting no where with me. So he calls his manager. Pressure sales tactics, hard sell i was not going to buy. However the way he was calling his staff names because he couldnt close the sale. Made me think even more this dude is a first class wanker.
    Well its true on the post above i won the tee shirt and my wife won the grand prize, one of 3 prize. The gold panal indictacted she won 7 nights in one of there hotels. Il check to see if the voucher actually works

  7. eugebe leader says

    Scam the scammers.
    1)Tell them you have another friend at another destination that you need to take.
    2) Get a ride to “pick up friend” at that destination.
    3) K, thanks for the free taxi bub. Maybe can go again tomorrow.

  8. That happened to me. My mom and dad and me(ofcourse) went outside for lunch. A guy said that”hi. Ya want a prize? ” . He gave me and my dad a ticket. I had one and won two t-shirts(what an awful prize)… My dad won an Ipad. Cool!!!!
    But then, my dad said”i don’t need it. Give it to your wife. ” he didn’t said thank you(disrespectful guy)and we ran away.

    The very next day…
    That happened again … A different guy came and my dad had the grand prize again (why!!! Why not me have that also a foreigner mde signs that to just run away! ) but different prizes . And dad said again”give it to your wife”. And that scummer said”but madam!!!! ” and all that info text up here gave me a lesson. 😹👨‍👩‍👧

  9. They say you cannot cancel these if you stupidly sign up. They served us lunch and drinks, had us there for 5 hours and reduced the deposit from 7000 initially to 600 dollars. We asked to cancel the next day and they are saying NO there is no cooling off period. Has this happened to anyone else?
    We are going to ask for help when we get back home to Aus.

    • Hi keri,
      I feel really sorry for you.The same thing happened to us the day before. Just make sure you contact your aus bank immediately which i already did. Can you contact me in this email may be we can help each other out.

    • Hi, did you manage to get at least some of your money back.? If yes, can you share how you did it? I got scammed too. Many thanks

  10. Satish Sydney says

    Thanks to all the bloggers . They played the same trick my wife won 500Aud and I get a T-shirt 😉
    Got suspicious when he was insisting to visit the hotel and I googled to find this blog.
    Will never look that direction now.

  11. So active in Kuta and Seminyak, you really need to be careful of these people.

    Simple rule if a stranger has told you, you have won a free anything, hotel stay, iPad, go pro or money it’s not real.
    Sounds too good to be true … it is! You are being scammed.

  12. Jesper Hansen says

    Same happened to my wife and me last night, and my wife wins the big price, today I sent the scammer and his taxi off our hotel wen he was supposed to pick up my wife an me, I hope he is to pay for the taxi himself

  13. My wife and i visited Bali in December 2018,got hooked in by agressive sales seminar on timeshare holidays.Back in Australia got agreement looked at by solicitor who said wording was contradictory and this voided the contract. Cancelled my credit card and sent emails to Karma about contract cancellation but they ignored my emails. Avoid Karma they are only interested in your money and have no morals at all.

    • Rachel Anderson says

      Hi William,
      Were you able to receive your deposit back?I cancelled my credit card within 3 working days and the Commonwealth bank refuse to refund my money.I have banked with them for over 20 years and I am so disappointed.We even have our house through them.I think I will be looking at an alternative bank.They’ve lost my trust.

  14. Guess, this scam is everywhere, happened to me today in Candolim, Goa. I was aware of these scams and firstly wasn’t interested to take the tear-off pamphlet to know the win. some pestering and reluctantly took one card and opened. valla, I had just won a DSLR. the scamsters showed their fake excitement, but I simply told them to give to their friends.
    when they found out I am not falling in their trap, they kept pestering me to visit this hotel place and collect the prize as its big money and for free.
    finally, told them to just p* off and walked away.

  15. Those scams still active in 2019. Just got called from those people in the streets of Kuta.

  16. Yes, still going in April 2019 as well. One was at the Ground Zero memorial site and the other right at the entrance of Discovery mall. My boyfriend “won” 2 T-shirts while I won the grand prize which was either 2 million IDR, 7 free nights at any of their hotels in several countries or a GoPro. It really does seem that they target women into getting the grand prize.
    When my bf Googled the Group, the guy immediately panicked and told my bf to Google another term (to avoid finding this kind of article) but he figured it out so we just said that he had to go somewhere first and we’ll be back (of course we never returned).
    I do feel bad for these people having to do such (dirty) work though. :/

  17. Two weeks ago in Semiyak we got approached, my partner won grand price. The scamer was so excited you can see sparkles in his eyes as he also won $100. Told him to give me the scatches I will collect it later but he wanted me to hope in a taxi now to collect. I wasn’t stupid enough to jump in with some strangers could of been kidnapped and harvest my organs or something:) Told him I’m so happy for him, he can keep the price to himself as a gift from me as I have a group of friends I have to meet now for lunch. He got me excited for a bit until telling me to get into the taxi that’s when I knew I just wastes my english.

  18. I love Bali… but scams like this taint the image of the place. It’s actually quite disappointing…

    Me and my friend were actually just less than 4 hours into our trip in Bali… then a guy approached us with promotional cards with prizes… same thing happened…

    My female friend won and I got a shirt but to claim it we had to go with them to their sales office which was actually 30 mins away from Kuta…

    Anyway when we got to the office… maybe the sales person realized that we aren’t really the rich type of individuals and rescheduled our “appointment” With t. Promo pitch before we can claim the prize…

    At least they honored the free taxi rides to and from their sales office but it was a complete waste of time.

    Minimum age is 27 but even the promo guy offered to alter my ID to make it seem that I’m 27 instead of being younger… seems like they’re desperate to con more and more people.

    When we won the ticket… we were told that my female friend was very lucky and she was the first one to win in 3 weeks… but when we got to the office it seemed like a lot of people were actually winning the grand prize lol.

    • This happend to my mum and I at the entrance of Discovery Mall in Kuta. My mum won a t-shirt and I won the grand prize which could be either $1000USD, $500USD discount coupon, 7 nights free accommodation, or brand new iPad at Peninsula Bay Resort.
      The guy looked genuinely excited as I was the first first-prize winner in 5months since the build of the new resort and because he got the winner he would get a job as a manager at the resort.
      The guy immediately wanted us to jump in the car with him to Nusa Dua where the new resort was the claim the prize which he claimed was only 20min away.
      He was too busy trying to sell this and kept forgetting our names and whether we were mother and daughter or sisters. We were worried jumping in the car with men who could take us anywhere and possibly kidnap, decided it was too good to be true and not worth the risk.
      He was really persistent but I rang my husband and pretended that we were meeting him for lunch in the mall and told him we would come back.
      This was the first time I was exposed to this type of scam but I thought if a stranger is overly nice to you and you get something that is just too good to be true it is always safe to doubt the motives behind it.
      Hope this gets shared and more Aussie tourists are aware of this sort of activities around Bali and other parts of the world.

  19. HELP…my son got conned into this timeshare stuff today in Kuta…how do we cancel??

  20. Evanfive75 says

    This scam is still alive and flourishing in 2020. My husband and I decided to visit Kuta and spend some time there, shopping and the like. Within minutes of getting out of the taxi from Sanur where we’re staying (at the time of writing, this is only two hours ago!) We were accosted by a very friendly local chap with these free prize cards for which you’re either a winner of a T-shirt, or the top prize of USD$1,000, an iPad, something else, and something else, I can’t recall. He told us that to claim or prizes we’d need to follow him to his posh little office just around the corner. There he introduced us to a lovely local girl working in the office and showed us a very amateurish hotel complex model in a glass case and said he’d treat us to lunch in their newest Peninsula Bay hotel complex which apparently “only opened in December 2019, but due to the coronavirus situation and low visitor numbers to Bali meant they were continuing to run the promotion to attract more visitors through worrd of mouth”. All we needed to do was have the free lunch and then tell people how good it was. Here’s the catch, we had to go and visit the complex immediately in order to claim our prizes and free lunch. Luckily for us, our friendly taxi driver had agreed to wait for us and we told him we’d only be a couple of hours in Kuta and text him when we were ready. I told the guy we couldn’t go immediately as we had a driver waiting for us. He got a bit pushy then so I told him there was absolutely no way we were doing it that day. As a compromise, he wanted to send someone to pick us up at 1130am the next day from our hotel in Sanur to which we reluctantly agreed, took an envelope with the cards in and left. Having discussed it between ourselves, and realising it was a timeshare scam/ploy (us Brits have endured many years of this so the signs should have been clear immediately but this guy had some tactics that would be illegal in the UK!), we decided to go back to their little office and cancel it. Luckily we saw the same guy on the street not five minutes later so I handed back the card to him saying I didn’t want to buy anything, especially not a timeshare. Hew tried to counter by telling me we absolutely didn’t have to buy anything, they only wanted us to promote their establishment. I told him I thought he was talking rubbish, shoved thre card back into his hand and walked away without looking back.

    As Gabriel points out from 2019, these scams really do tarnish Bali’s image and I think there are two teams doing similar things as we were offered the chance to take part in another winning card scam just up the road, only this time the cards were a different colour. We didn’t give him the time of day! I won’t go to Kuta again – it’s like being in Egypt or Morocco where you’re constantly hassled by people wanting you to ‘look’ at their tat and crap, buy their Cialis or Viagra, score some Cocaine or Cannabis, rent their scooter or indeed win a fabulous prize that doesn’t exist… It’s a real shame.

Speak Your Mind